Dear Parent/Carer,

Re: Coronavirus update, Thursday 19th March – school closure to most pupils

As I am sure you are aware, the Prime Minister has made a significant update regarding the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the impact on schools. I am now writing to let you know that we have now been instructed to close the school to almost all students from 14.00pm on Friday 20th March ‘until further notice’.

As advised by the government, we will do all we can to stay open for those students who have an EHC Plan, are classed as vulnerable or are the children of key workers (e.g. NHS staff, police, others in frontline services).

At this point, there is a lack of detail from the government about what roles and jobs are included in its term “key workers”. However, specific details on this are due to be released today; I will confirm how this impacts on our students and families then. In the meantime please let us know if you think your child may fall into one of the above categories, and if they do, whether or not you intend to send them into school on Monday.

Please do this by emailing info@utcw.co.uk with the following information by the end of the school day today (Thursday 19th March):

  • Student name and year group
  • What your role/job is
  • Whether you intend to send your child into school from Monday onwards

In addition, we ask that all parents ensure that the UTC has your most up to date email address and contact telephone number. You can inform us by using the same email address above.

Whilst the UTC is closed, our staff will be continuing to teach and offer learning support remotely. We have already made suitable preparations for the transition to online learning, using Microsoft Teams and Seneca Learning. We will continue to brief all students on how to access these platforms today and tomorrow to ensure they are well equipped to work from home. Packs of work will also be provided for students who are unable to access online provision from home. Staff will be working hard to develop online tools and resources for our students and we will keep you up to date in the coming weeks.

For some families, students and teachers the cancellation of the GCSE and A Level exams due to take place in May and June will be difficult and worrying. At present, I am unable to comment on the process of how GCSE and A Level qualifications will be awarded, however, I would like to reassure you that the government has stated that it will work with the exams regulator to ensure students receive grades and qualifications that allow them to progress to their planned post-16/18 destinations. We will do all we can to support our students and their families at this difficult and confusing time. Rest assured that we will explore ways to celebrate and mark the achievements and successes of our Year 11 and 13 students at some point in the future.

The latest health guidance remains as it did before. Public Health England advises that anyone, including any person living in the household, displaying flu-like symptoms – defined as a fever above 37.8C or a “new continuous cough” – is now advised to self-isolate for 14 days. Further guidance is available by accessing the following link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

Over the course of the next two days I will continue to communicate with you via email, our website and social media channels in relation to the school closure on Friday 20th March and which students should attend from Monday 23rd March.

I would like to thank you for your continued support and patience during what are unprecedented and uncertain times for everyone. Our school motto is ‘Excellence and Kindness’. I am proud of the determination, resilience and strength of our entire school community.

Thank you and stay safe. 

Amanda Downing
Associate Principal